N23b polls funds: More pdp chieftains in trouble

· As efcc quizzes 3 leaders per state

MORE chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are to be interrogated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the N23 billion allegedly made available by former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, for the reelection bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Alison-Madueke was said to have raised the sum of $115million (about N23.29billion), out of which some oil barons reportedly contributed about $88.35 million for the purpose of the last general election.

The fund was said to have been disbursed to certain individuals, including officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and interest groups across the country through a bank.

The fund was allegedly disbursed ahead of the presidential election to skew it in favour of the PDP standard-bearer in the election, the then President Jonathan.

An inside source in the anti-graft commission informed Saturday Tribune on Friday that following revelations by a former Minister of Finance, Mrs Esther Nenadi Usman, on how she shared about N1.850 billion to party chieftains from the states in the North-East geopolitical zone, EFCC had decided to invite more party stalwarts to explain their involvement in the scam.

Usman, who was the Director of Finance in the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, was invited to the EFCC zonal office in Gombe, the Gombe State capital, to shed more light on how she shared the slush fund and was said to have told her interrogators that she shared the money on the instructions of Mrs Alison-Madueke to party stalwarts across the country.

The former minister was said to have revealed that Adamawa State was given N450 million; Bauchi State, got N500 million, Gombe State, N450 million and Taraba State, N450 million.

The source said further that the commission was set to interrogate party chairmen and candidates on their involvement, while intensifying efforts at recovering the fund from those who were mentioned in the scam.

Other chieftains from other zones of the country have also been questioned by the commission.

It was gathered that more PDP leaders will be questioned in the coming days as a source said that no fewer than three PDP chiefs per state have been interrogated already.

“The anti-graft body has interrogated no fewer than three PDP chiefs in each of the states in connection with the loot. Anyone found culpable will certainly face the music,” the source said.

According to the source, “we are not leaving any stone unturned in our investigations into the election funds made available by Diezani. You know that investigation has been going on for some time now and anyone mentioned during interrogations will definitely be invited for question with a view to explaining their role in the scandal.

“Any party chieftain and even governorship candidates in the last general election mentioned to have collected money from the slush fund will surely face interrogation,” said the source, who did not want to be named.

Efforts made to reach the Head, Media and Publicity of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, on his mobile phone failed.

A text message sent to him was not responded to as of the time of filing this report.